June 23 Miramichi Salmon Report

Fishing Friends – two friends and I just came back from three days of fishing on the Main SW Miramichi at Campbell’s and Kennan’s Pool in Blackville, New Brunswick.   The short of it is that fishing was slow.  We did see fish each day, but we actually hooked and rolled less fish than the week before.  The difference was that this time we did put one in the net.

Kent Mohnkern and guide Jason Curtis holding salmon

Kent Mohnkern, on his first ever trip Atlantic salmon fishing, was the lucky angler who fishing with guide Jason Curtis put his fly in front of what turned out to be an estimated 22 pound salmon holding on a lie right in the middle of the river.  The fish rolled at that fly as well as three others before finally taking aggressively a #6 lime colored green machine tied by Blackville native Ashley Hallihan.  Ashley’s green machines are clipped to an unbelievably thin profile so they track a little lower in the water column.  This particular one also had a short tail of  krystal flash fibers. (click on any pictures to enlarge fully)

Shortly after hookup Jason steered his Sharpe canoe to the bank and the three of us followed the salmon about 600 feet downstream before finally netting it.

I was photographing Kent whose hands were quite visibly shaking as he repeatedly muttered that he had never been connected with such a fish before.  After removal of the barbless hook the big salmon rested only seconds before swimming back out into the river.  What a thrill for everyone involved!  Be sure to watch all of the short video above to see the great jump, and turn up the volume to hear the excitement in their voices.

While we found the fishing at Campbell’s slow, our neighbors up at Hershey’s Club a mile or so upriver had one on each of the two days that we skunked out, and three on the day that Kent got his.  That’s salmon fishing, but it indicates that maybe there were a few more fish around than you could prove by us.  We did see other fish each day, and Thursday afternoon we watched a fair number of grilse move through pool.  These were the first grilse that we had seen in 2017, and we took it as a good sign to see a number of grilse coming like this more than a week before the first of July.  There was a horrific wind that day which made casting somewhere between very tough and impossible, but still, knowing how aggressive those grilse would be, I persevered and vainly anticipated a strike on every cast.

Jason Curtis stocking salmon fry in Mahoney Brook

On Monday the 19th while I was driving up from Maine Jason Curtis accompanied the Miramichi Salmon Association biologists on a trip to stock “first feeding fry” into the Cains.   This is a program dear to my heart, and one that I think is quite successful.  ASF regional director Nathan Wilbur and I were talking about this last weekend, and while it is anecdotal we both think the number of salmon holding during the summer in the lower sections of the Cains River – below Sabbies River – has increased in the last few years.  It would be impossible to know what to attribute this to with any certainty, but removing beaver dam spawning obstacles and stocking fry in areas of low parr counts over the last 5 years has to be helping.  The fry stocked now are only about an inch long, and are spawned from last fall’s wild parents captured as broodstock, spawned out, and then released.  The fry are being introduced at the height of summer’s bounty, and should have an optimal chance for survival, plus they will grow totally wild.  Please contact me at bigbass@maine.rr.com if you would like to make a tax deductible financial contribution to this continuing effort.

Last week I reported on the odd season we were having, but as they have a way of doing things are now coming together.  We found hatched turtle shells on the shore, saw a few more insects, caught a gasperaux – river herring – on a green machine, and had a pair of bluebirds settle into one of our nesting boxes that the swallows had not filled.

Beautiful June day on the Miramichi.

Water height and temperatures are normal for this time, and the forecast is for slightly below normal highs to run into the first week of July when the first big run of fish should hit the Miramichi.  Let us keep our fingers crossed for good conditions.

Brad Burns



17 Comments on “June 23 Miramichi Salmon Report

  1. Hi Brad,

    Another superb report which I enjoyed thoroughly. Congratulations to your pal for his superb fish, he was very obviously thrilled.
    Those tough conditions are following you around the Globe this season, I hope they relent for your next trip and that you too enjoy some early summer sport on your home river.

    Best as ever


  2. Nigel – thanks for your comment and tight lines to you over on the Thurso etc. Overall conditions here really aren’t bad with relatively cool temps and good water heights. We got rain again in NB last night too. It is just a little early in our run, and I’m hoping to see a good push of fish in the next couple of weeks. the Miramichi really only has outliers until around the second week in July, though the quality of the early arriving fish – just like your springers – is as good as it gets.

  3. Terrific video clips, Brad, especially the excellent release of that big salmon and watching him swim away. Congratulations to Kent!

  4. Hi Brad…Got back from MSC Wednesday pm…we had four landed at camp,a friend from PEI landed a 20 pounder the first day, and I hooked and lost a nice one after four jumps..fishing was slow as you know but am booked for two more trips this summer, one in July and one last of Sept…..am just sitting here waiting for the next trip……the Miramichi is always a joy……take care Mac

  5. Hi Brad,
    Nice report. Am heading to Red Bank tomorrow (6/25). Will check in with any positive results.

    Roger Earle

  6. Thanks Brad for the shoutout…the lime green machine (aka mean green) is a dandy pattern and was my most productive pattern last year. Great pics and video….lets hope that this is just a start to more tightlines!

    • Thanks Ashley. I’ve tried to copy your green machine body shape, but I have a hard time getting the hair trimmed nearly that close. You should have been a surgeon.

  7. Hello Brad.
    Great report, good to see Kent M catch his first salmon, and a beautiful June fish, the best. I look forward to fishing the Miramichi in September.
    Kal Kotkas
    Shelton WA

  8. What a beautiful fish Brad. On a barbless Green Machine, he deserves a medal.

    • You Scots underestimate the bloody green machine!!!LOL As you know it is all about where you are lucky enough to hook the fish. This one came up off the lie and had the hook right in the corner of the jaw. It took a good pull with the forceps to get it out even though the barb was pinched. At least half the time the barbless hooks come out in the process netting the fish.

  9. Just a wonderful blog. Great video and what a magnificent fish. At Bullock’s they are seeing some fish, and have moved some. As of Thursday, none in the net. Hoping the water holds up and the heat off.
    Be well.

    • James – thanks. The 14 day trend shows the high temps at a degree or two below normal every day through July 8. Please god, let it happen!

  10. Great video and report! I would like to mention to the Scottish commentator that all 3 fish I hooked on the Grand and Petit Cascapedia last week were on the Green Machine, not commonly used in Gaspe. I’m not sure why it works but there’s reason 95% of NB salmon fisherman have a stash of these in their fly box!

  11. Last week water conditions were good in the upper stretches of the River (above Boiestown). No sign of any fish after 4 nights on the river.

    Thank you for your river reports. They are very informative, well written, and timely!


    • Greg – I’m just back from the river and will put up a new blog, but thanks for the report. At the same time I saw yours another e-mail came in with a picture of a good fish from Upper Blackville and said they saw lots going. I think spotty is probably the right word, and sometimes I guess that is just the way it is in June on the Miramichi.

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